Campaign To Ban Prevailing Wage Headed To Court

Apr 27, 2018

(MPRN-Lansing) A partisan split on a state election board has stalled a petition drive to outlaw prevailing wage rules in Michigan. 

Non-union builders and some prominent business groups, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, want to outlaw prevailing wage. They launched a petition drive that takes aim at rules adopted by the state and many local governments. Those rules require contractors to pay union-scale wages on publicly funded projects.

The elections panel deadlocked on whether to let the campaign move forward. Two Republicans voted yes. Two Democrats voting no.

Jeff Wiggins is with the petition campaign. He says this isn’t over.

“We’re going to court,” he says. “This is a clear violation of the constitutional rights of the people who signed these petitions. 380 thousand Michigan citizens want to repeal prevailing wage.”

The board’s two Democrats say there are questions about whether many petition circulators provided legal residential addresses as required by state law. Any action by the board requires bipartisan support.

A judge could order the board to put the question to the Legislature. Under Republican control, the Legislature would very likely approve it.